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The Art of Deceit: TOR’s Finest Liars Revealed

Our Favorite Non-Humanoid Aliens

Spoiler Warning: This blog post contains spoilers for various books. Proceed with caution if you prefer to discover plot twists and character revelations firsthand.

Welcome, bookworms and truth-seekers alike, to a deep-dive into the world of Tor’s charmingly deceptive characters! These literary liars are here to spin tales, bend truths, and keep us guessing. Get ready for a rollercoaster ride of witty deceptions and clever fabrications as we uncover the finest fibbers in our beloved books.


Lukan Gardova (The Silverblood Promise by James Logan)

The Silverblood Promise

Starting with Lukan Gardova, the epitome of nobility and wealth, or so it seems. Beneath the veneer of his prestigious lineage lies a ne’er-do-well partying failson who squandered his inheritance in an ill-advised duel. However, when foul play targets his estranged father, Lukan finds himself thrust into a game of deception and intrigue. To unravel the mystery, he must tread carefully, juggling truths and lies as he delves into a world where uncovering the truth means embracing the art of deceit.

Giovanni Lawson (In the Lives of Puppets by TJ Klune)

In the Lives of Puppets

Warning: Spoilers ahead! Meet Giovanni Lawson, the cunning liar at the heart of this story. Playing the role of a father (akin to Geppetto), Giovanni has spun a web of deceit around his adopted human son, leading him to believe in a fabricated narrative involving the eradication of all human life and more. But beware, dear reader, for beneath these falsehoods lies a truth that may surprise you…

Talasseres (Tal) Charossa ( The Unspoken Name by A. K. Larkwood)

The Unspoken Name

Introducing Talasseres (Tal) Charossa, a scrappy rogue and dedicated pessimist with a knack for deception among his many skills. He’s not afraid to resort to backstabbing, thievery, and, crucially for this list, lying to achieve his goals. What does he want, you ask? Mostly, it’s just to excel at his tasks and maybe earn a morsel of acknowledgment from his boss—well, more of a crush, really—Belthandros Sethennai, who, Tal can’t help but note, is a wizard with a garbage track record.

Raine (Daughter of Redwinter by Ed McDonald)

Daughter of Redwinter

Last, but certainly not least is Raine, a survivor in a world where lying isn’t a choice but a necessity. Unlike those who lie for selfish reasons or excitement, Raine’s lies are a lifeline. In a setting akin to a Bruce Willis blockbuster (though she’d find that notion bewildering), the Daughter of Redwinter navigates a third-world highland fantasy where seeing the deceased is not just a quirk but a grave danger. In her reality, such visions mark one for immediate destruction. Thus, Raine’s adeptness at deception isn’t a luxury but a vital skill for her very existence.

 

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Six Bookish Betrayals to Beware on the Ides of March!

Caesar: “What sayst thou to me now? Speak once again.” 

Soothsayer: “Beware the Ides of March.”

Caesar: “He is a dreamer. Let us leave him. Pass.”

This snippet from Act 1, Scene 2 of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar is quite famous. Often the clues that nod to a fate we don’t want to see are so clear, in retrospect. Even with this prophecy, Shakespeare’s subject perished in terrible surprise when he was betrayed by his besties. 

Here are six reading suggestions full of betrayals that you’ll never see coming!


the silverblood promise by james loganThe Silverblood Promise by James Logan

Ah, Saphrona! Fabled city of merchant princes! You can find anything you might like here, for a price, and loyalty? Well. That can be very cheap. Saphrona is the destination of Lukan Gardova, a disgraced noble scion on a quest to unravel the mysterious murder of his father. It’s a good thing Lukan is an excellent cheat in his own right (cardsharp) because in this investigation, a single lie could spell death. 

one for my enemy by olivie blakeOne for My Enemy by Olivie Blake

Sometimes love is betrayal. In this modern speculative reimagining of Romeo & Juliet, the two sparring factions are rival corners of the Manhattan magic underworld. The Antonova sisters are the daughters of the elusive chemical supplier Baba Yaga. The Federov brothers are the sons of the shadow kingpin Koschei the Deathless. 

To fall in love would constitute a betrayal of their families. To act for your family would be a betrayal of your lover. 

Uh oh. 

she who became the sun by shelley parker-chanShe Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan

This book is actually the most amount of betrayal one can fit in a book, probably. There’s so much. Literally so much. Our protagonist Zhu’s engagement with both betrayal and murder is well above average, but General Ouyang is the real revenge warrior. His entire life is revenged and the only person he loves is his target. Ouch. 

Daughter of RedwinterDaughter of Redwinter by ed mcdonald by Ed McDonald

After so many shocking betrayals, here’s a new angle: Our main character Raine is the one doing the betraying. Kind of. Her primary goal is to accumulate power so she can stay alive, and she’s staying true to that, even if it means lying to everyone else. Here’s the thing: Raine can see the dead. Everyone around her would just hate that if they found out. Probably to a lethal degree. 

So they never will. 

the echo wife by sarah gaileyThe Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey

In marriage, you’re supposed to have your partner’s back. Evelyn’s husband goes behind her back when he steals her cloning research to create a gentler replicant of his wife. He’s the worst. Luckily, he’s soon dead. Evelyn and her clone, Martine, have a mess to clean. 

the three body problem by cixin liuThe Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu

Sha stared at Wang for a long time and then nodded. “I understand. Strange things have been happening to scientists lately…” 

“Yes.” Wang ducked into the car. He didn’t want to discuss the subject any further. 

“Is it our turn?” 

“It’s my turn, at least.” Wang started the engine. 

The Trisolarans are coming. They have inside help. 

The Three-Body Problem will release soon as a Netflix series!

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Escape The Haunted Library

Endless night streams soft and silver through the reading room’s wide window. You are surrounded by volumes and tomes, candle and moonlight, and out that window—so many stars.

Inside there are so many spirits.

If you do not escape the library, you will join them. FOREVER.




Order Book of Night in Paperback Here

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What Does the Ghost Want You to Read?

by a cat 

Do not be alarmed, for this is neither good nor bad necessarily, but you have a ghost. It’s there—hovering, haunting, wanting. All ghosts want something, or else they wouldn’t be here. 

This one wants you to read a book. Better figure out which one.



And while you’ve got books on the brain, check out Traitor of Redwinter by Ed McDonald!

Pre-order Traitor of Redwinter in Here:

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Literary Trick-or-Treat: 8 Book & Candy Pairings

If Halloween’s about one thing, it’s the delicious candy. But! If Halloween’s about two things, it’s the delicious candy and good books (We’re Tor. We’re nerds).

Check out these pairings of sweet treats and matching reads!


the fragile threads of power by v.e. scwab in front of an array of sour patch kids watermelonsThe Fragile Threads of Power & Sour Patch Kids Watermelon

The tag for Sour Patch Kids might be Sour, Sweet, Gone—but not V. E. Schwab! They are BACK, returning to the expansive world(s) they created in the Shades of Magic Trilogy. The Fragile Threads of Power features both new characters and old, which is why we’ve paired it with Sour Patch Kids Watermelon. It’s everything you love and a little more. A little different. Familiar, yet new. 


traitor of redwinter by ed mcdonald in front of an ad for zombie skittles, reading BEWARE OF ROTTEN ZOMBIE SKITTLESTraitor of Redwinter & Zombie Skittles 

For very brief spans in 2019 and 2020, Skittles ran a special limited-time Halloween campaign, delivering unto us Zombie Skittles. They’re just like regular Skittles, but a few—visually indecipherable from their more delicious brethren—were zombies, and tasted awful. Traitor of Redwinter by Ed McDonald is way cooler than Zombie Skittles because it brings all the scary candy’s suspense without tasting abominable (probably just tastes neutrally of paper, if you tried to snack on it). 

On Sale 10.24.23


Bookshops & bonedust by travis baldree in front of a golden array of wrapped reese's peanut butter cupsBookshops & Bonedust & Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup  

The much-loved Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup owes its storied position in candy history to its artful fusion of two flavors: Chocolate. Peanut butter. We honor Bookshops & Bonedust by Travis Baldree by pairing it with the peanut butter cup, because it too is a smooth blend of distinct flavors. Viv is a mercenary, but a warrior stuck in recovery in a tiny beach town. But adventures seldom play out as you expect. This sleepy town and its cozy bookshop are full of peanut butter, or they are peanut butter and adventure is the chocolate. This metaphor makes sense. We will not be taking any questions. 

On Sale 11.7.23


devil's gun by cat rambo next to a suspicious bad of 'Disco's' candy Devil’s Gun & Disco’s

Cat Rambo’s Disco Space Opera series (and playlist! Check out their playlist!) began with You Sexy Thing and continued with Devil’s Gun, named respectively after the rock time tunes “You Sexy Thing” by Hot Chocolate and “Devil’s Gun” by C.J. & Co. Fittingly, we have elected to pair this sci-fi adventure with Disco’s, a candy we’ve never heard of before and seems to be available primarily in the United Kingdom? But whatever. C’est la vie. We did it for the name. 


the first binding by r.r. virdi being flanked by two shiny gummi sharksThe First Binding & Giant Gummy Shark 

For R.R. Virdi’s hugely epic The First Binding, we’re hauling in the world’s largest gummy shark. Like this massive gummified carnivore confection, The First Binding will sustain you for a while. One will feed your body, and one will nourish the soul.  

Now Available in Paperback!


Starter villain by john scalzi in front of a rainbow array of sour patch kidsStarter Villain & Sour Patch Kids (Original)

Starter Villain by John Scalzi is the story of a hapless guy who inherits his uncle’s supervillain business, including among other assets, an array of espionage-ready cats. We pair it with the original Sour Patch Kids, harkening back to that aforementioned tag, Sour, Sweet, Gone. This is a book of cozy opposites—namely surprisingly cool supervillains. 


exadelic by jon evans in front of a rainbow array of monster energy drinks in different flavorsExadelic & Monster Energy 

Far from a traditional Halloween trick-or-treat staple, these energy drinks nevertheless taste like candy, and pair perfectly with Jon Evans Exadelic, which is a book about occult magic and computer code. A trusty goto beverage for exhausted software engineers everywhere, this sweet, sugary drink counts as candy for the purposes of this article, and is the perfect fuel to keep you awake late into the night as you read Exadelic


sandymancer by david edison in front of some red hot candiesSandymancer & Red Hots 

David Edison’s Sandymancer is a classic fantasy adventure of mad god-kings, regular people with extraordinary powers, and lots of hot climates. The final note is what inspires us to dedicate a spot on this feature to Red Hots. Can you feel the heat? Hopefully you can’t taste the sand. Hopefully you have escaped the ire of mad gods. 

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Tor Books’ EXCESSIVELY Autumnal Fall Quiz

by Merlin Hoye & a cat 

Feeling the urge to dive headfirst into a massive pile of leaves? Wishing you could chug infinite pumpkin spice lattes? Longing to carve the everliving heck out of a pumpkin? Here at Tor we’re utterly and unapologetically mad for all things autumn and we believe it’s never too early to start celebrating your little cozy heart out.

So you heard it here first my friends… We unleash autumn upon you!!



And while you’ve got books on the brain, check out Starling House by Alix E. Harrow!

Pre-order Starling House in Here:

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Stupendous eBook Deals of September 2023

Oh? Do you hear that sound? It’s the 🚨Book Alarm🚨

Hot eBook deals are on their way! Check them out!


When the Sparrow FallsFalling lineart sparrow and cover text for When the Sparrow Falls by Neil Sharpson by Neil Sharpson — $2.99

Life in the Caspian Republic has taught Agent Nikolai South two rules. Trust No One. And work just hard enough not to make enemies.Here, in the last sanctuary for the dying embers of the human race in a world run by artificial intelligence, if you stray from the path—your life is f orfeit. But when a Party propagandist is killed—and is discovered as a “machine”—he’s given a new mission: chaperone the widow, Lily, who has arrived to claim her husband’s remains. But when South sees that she, the first “machine” ever allowed into the country, bears an uncanny resemblance to his late wife, he’s thrown into a maelstrom of betrayal, murder, and conspiracy that may bring down the Republic for good.

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Daughter of RedwinterCover of Daughter of Redwinter by Ed McDonald by Ed McDonald — $2.99

Raine can see—and speak—to the dead, a gift that comes with a death sentence. All her life she has hidden, lied, and run to save her skin, and she’s made some spectacularly bad choices along the way. But it is a rare act of kindness—rescuing an injured woman in the snow—that becomes the most dangerous decision Raine has ever made. Because the woman is fleeing from Redwinter, the fortress-monastery of the Draoihn, warrior magicians who answer to no king, and who will stop at nothing to reclaim what she’s stolen. A battle, a betrayal, and a horrific revelation force Raine to enter the citadel and live among the Draoihn. She soon finds that her secret ability could be the key to saving an entire nation. Though she might have to die to make it happen . . .

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MordewMordew by Alex Pheby by Alex Pheby — $2.99

God is dead, his corpse hidden in the catacombs beneath Mordew. In the slums of the sea-battered city, a young boy called Nathan Treeves lives with his parents, eking out a meagre existence by picking treasures from the Living Mud and the half-formed, short-lived creatures it spawns. Until one day his desperate mother sells him to the mysterious Master of Mordew. The Master derives his magical power from feeding on the corpse of God. But Nathan, despite his fear and lowly station, has his own strength—and it is greater than the Master has ever known. Great enough to destroy everything the Master has built. If only Nathan can discover how to use it. So it is that the Master begins to scheme against him—and Nathan has to fight his way through the betrayals, secrets, and vendettas of the city where God was murdered, and darkness reigns.

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The Phoenix Unchainedthe phoenix unchained by mercedes lackey & james mallory by Mercedes Lackey & James Mallory — $3.99

After a thousand years of peace, much Magick has faded from the world. The Elves live far from humankind. There are no High Mages, and Wild Mages are seen only rarely. Bisochim, a powerful Wild Mage, is determined to reintroduce Darkness to the world, believing that it is out of Balance. Tiercel, a young Armethalian nobleman, is convinced that High Magic is not just philosophy. He attempts a spell—and draws the unwelcome attention of Bisochim. Tiercel survives Bisochim’s attack and begins trying to turn himself into a High Mage. Next in line to be Harbormaster of Armethalieh, Harrier instead finds himself regularly saving Tyr’s life and meeting magickal people and creatures. To Harrier’s dismay, it seems that he must become a hero.

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In the Garden of Idenin the garden of iden by kage baker by Kage Baker — $3.99

In the 24th century, the Company preserves works of art and extinct forms of life (for profit of course). It recruits orphans from the past, renders them all but immortal, and trains them to serve the Company, Dr. Zeus. One of these is Mendoza the botanist. She is sent to Elizabethan England to collect samples from the garden of Sir Walter Iden. But while there, she meets Nicholas Harpole, with whom she falls in love. And that love sounds great bells of change that will echo down the centuries, and through the succeeding novels of The Company.

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The Soprano Sorceressthe soprano sorceress by l.e. modesitt, jr. by L.E. Modesitt, Jr. — $3.99

On Erde, Anna Marshall is no longer just a professional singer. In this world, song is magic, making Anna a sorceress, potentially the strongest in Erde. Here, a wrong note can mean death to a sorcerer, but Anna’s lifetime of training means she can sing more powerfully and precisely than anyone else. Her power does not go unnoticed and makes her a target. To survive, Anna must learn enough song-magic and understand this new world.

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Starfishstarfish by peter watts by Peter Watts — $3.99

A huge international corporation has developed a facility along the Juan de Fuca Ridge at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean to exploit geothermal power. They send a bio-engineered crew–people who have been altered to withstand the pressure and breathe the seawater–down to live and work in this weird, fertile undersea darkness. Unfortunately the only people suitable for long-term employment in these experimental power stations are crazy, some of them in unpleasant ways. How many of them can survive, or will be allowed to survive, while worldwide disaster approaches from below?

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Probability Moonprobability moon by nancy kress by Nancy Kress — $3.99

Humankind has expanded out into interstellar space using star gates-technological remnants left behind by an ancient, long-vanished race. But the technology comes with a price. Among the stars, humanity encountered the Fallers, a strange alien race bent on nothing short of genocide. It’s all-out war, and humanity is losing. In this fragile situation, a new planet is discovered, inhabited by a pre-industrial race who experience “shared reality”-they’re literally compelled to share the same worldview. A team of human scientists is dispatched-but what they don’t know is that their mission of first contact is actually a covert military operation. For one of the planet’s moons is really a huge mysterious artifact of the same origin as the star gates . . . and it just may be the key to winning the war.

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Nightside the Long Sunnightside the long sun by gene wolfe by Gene Wolfe — $3.99

Life on the Whorl, and the struggles and triumphs of Patera Silk to satisfy the demands of the gods, will captivate readers yearning for something new and different in science fiction, for the magic of the future. Enormous in breadth and scope, Wolfe’s ambitious new work opens out into a world of wonders, of gods and humans, aliens and machines, and mysterious adventures far out in space and deep inside the human spirit. It is set on a ship-world whose origins are shrouded in legend, ruled by strange gods who appear infrequently to their worshippers on large screens, and peopled by a human race changed by eons of time, yet familiar.

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On Blue’s Waterson blue's waters by gene wolfe by Gene Wolfe — $3.99

Horn, the narrator of the earlier work, now tells his own story. Though life is hard on the newly settled planet of Blue, Horn and his family have made a decent life for themselves. But Horn is the only one who can locate the great leader Silk, and convince him to return to Blue and lead them all to prosperity. So Horn sets sail in a small boat, on a long and difficult quest across the planet Blue in search of the now legendary Patera Silk. The story continues in In Green’s Jungles and Return to the Whorl.

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Which Fantasy Class Are You? (and what you should read next)

by a cat

Ever wonder what your fantasy ttrpg class is? Ever wonder what book you should read next? While seemingly disparate, these two questions are inextricably linked, and we’ll prove it with this quiz.

Check it out!



And while you’ve got books on the brain, Ebony Gate by Julia Vee & Ken Bebelle releases soon, and deserves a spot on the list of any fan of urban fantasy.

Pre-order Ebony Gate Here:

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Which Dysfunctional Fantasy Crew Should You Join?

by a bunch of raccoons in a trench coat & a cat

Rolling with a fantasy crew is no dream! Surprisingly, conflict management is actually not made easier with magic and swords.

Find out which dysfunctional fantasy crew you ride with by taking this quiz!



And while you’ve got books on the brain, the Moonfall Series by James Rollins is pretty cool. You should read it.

Order The Cradle of Ice Here:

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Q&A With Ed McDonald & Catriona Ward

Daughter of Redwinter by Ed McDonald / Looking Glass Sound by Catriona Ward

Recently, fantasy author Ed McDonald (of Daughter of Redwinter fame) and horror author Catriona Ward (you might recall The Last House on Needless Street and Sundial, but have you added Looking Glass Sound to your TBR?) dropped by our office to answer some of our burning-est authorial questions! And we thought those answers were SO good, that we’re sharing them with all of y’all 😎

Check ’em out!

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How Long Have You Studied the Blade? 

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What Inspired Looking Glass Sound?

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As a Seasoned Author & Game Master, How Do the Two Disciplines Relate?

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Could You Describe Your Writing Process?

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What Character Do You Relate to Most in Daughter of Redwinter?

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What Advice Do You Have for Authors Trying to Write Horror?

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Rapid-fire Questions!

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Order Daughter of Redwinter Here:

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Pre-order Looking Glass Sound Here:

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